Should I Buy Long Term Care Health Insurance?
It is a good question. When people especially those who are far from retirement age, let alone “old age” – evaluate health insurance needs it is difficult to think about something so distant as long term care insurance. Long-term care insurance as the name implies is a health insurance policy that will pay all or most of the costs associated with a stay in a nursing home.
Long-term care insurance – or LTC has been designed to serve two purposes, one to provide necessary affordable health insurance for the care you may need to live in a skilled nursing facility, and two, to protect your assets if that kind of care becomes necessary. So to answer the question you really need to evaluate your assets or the assets of the loved one in question that may need protecting. If you have a home and a fairly large portfolio of investments, then long term care health insurance may make more sense, to protect those assets. On the other hand those very assets may be able to pay for long term care.
You also need to take into account your family situation when assessing your need for long term care health insurance. If you have children, that may mean you are less likely to need long term care insurance because as you get older and lose the ability to live safely on your own, you may have the option of moving in with a son or daughter. If you have no children, that is not an option, so LTC maybe a better choice for you. Yet without any children to will your home or other assets to, perhaps it does not matter to you if they will be used to pay for long-term care should it become necessary.
Remember that Medicare does not pay for custodial care. Most private health insurance policies also will not pay of the cost incurred by long term care. However if you expect to have no assets, and very little income when you are over 65, you may qualify for Medicaid, and Medicaid will pay for long term care. So if you expect that maybe your situation as you reach the age when long term care insurance usually becomes necessary, then you really do not need the additional expense of LTC. By the same token a recent article in a national newspaper said that if you expect to have a net worth of over 1.5 million dollars upon retirement, then it is unlikely that you will need to purchase long-term care health insurance. You should be able to pay the expenses of long-term care as you would any other monthly bill.
If you fall in the middle of the two groups then you are likely the one to most benefit from the piece of mind that long term care health insurance can bring. Especially if you are under 65. If you think you are likely to need LTC, the longer you delay, the older you are, the harder it is to obtain it. A recent study found that 43% of those rejected for LTC polices were in their 70’s, but 11% of applicants turned down were actually in their 50’s.
One other note about long-term care health insurance. Not every resident in a nursing home is there because of old age. Conditions like stroke or injuries that can happen and require the victim to spend the rest of their lives in a skilled nursing facility can happen at any age